Fraudsters who claimed £10m in Covid loans while on bail jailed for 33 years

Two international criminals, who fraudulently claimed £10 million in Bounce Back loans while on bail for money laundering offences, have been jailed for a total of 33 years.

Artem Terzyan, 38, from Russia and Deivis Grochiatskij, 44, from Lithuania, became the focus of a joint police and National Crime Agency investigation in 2017 after two of their associates were jailed for money laundering.

Police witnessed large sums of cash being delivered to their flats in the Docklands area of east London, where they were neighbours.

Both men were also seen opening bank accounts across London in the names of the fake businesses before depositing tens of thousands of pounds.

The cash was then transferred to international accounts in Germany, Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Singapore.

A man hugs wads of cash in Deivis Grochiatskij’s flat

Credit: NCA/Met Police/SWNS

In 2018, the pair were arrested and investigators calculated they had been responsible for laundering a total of £36 million in 2017-18, with £16 million of that coming from cash deposits.

However, while on bail last year, Terzyan and Grochiatskij began exploiting the Government’s Covid-19 support scheme by claiming fraudulent Bounce Back loans for the various shell companies they had set up.

They claimed up to £50,000 a time, generating more than £10 million in total, with £3.2 million coming from one UK bank alone.

While on bail, the pair also continued to launder criminal cash and between June 2018 and November 2020, managed to process a further £34 million.

Terzyan and Grochiatskij were each charged with two counts of money laundering, for which they were found guilty following a seven-week trial in September 2021.

Earlier this month at Kingston Crown Court, Terzyan was sentenced to 17 years in prison and Grochiatskij to 16 years.

Stacks of cash and a ledger showing details of the money laundering operation

Details can only now be released following the lifting of report restrictions that were previously in place.

Sentencing the two men, Judge Shetty said: “The British taxpayer will be staggered and upset that part of their hard-earned tax contributions was going into the pockets of criminals.”

Andy Tickner, from the Organised Crime Partnership, said: “This was a painstaking and complex investigation in which the team analysed reams of financial data and transactions.

“Ultimately, the case proved that these two had built a sophisticated, large-scale money laundering system which saw them transfer £70 million worth of criminal cash out of the UK.

“They did so by setting up hundreds of bogus companies and utilising an international network of criminals under their control.

“To top it off, they stole over £10 million from British taxpayers in what is believed to be one of the largest Bounce Back loan frauds since the scheme was introduced in 2020.”

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